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01:41

Lebanon: Hariri announces economic reform package after days of anti-gov. protests

Lebanon, Beirut
October 22, 2019 at 03:33 GMT +00:00 · Published

Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri announced during a televised address in Beirut on Monday that after his imposed 72-hour deadline he and his government partners had agreed to an economic reform package, after days of anti-government protests rocked Lebanon.

The reform package which Hariri announced includes a 50 percent salary reduction for government officials and members of parliament as well as a directive to the banking sector and the Bank of Lebanon to "reduce the deficit by 5,100 billion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion or €3 billion) during 2020, including a tax increase on the profits of banks."

"These decisions are not to barter, they are not to ask you to stop protesting or expressing anger, this is something that you decide. And we are not giving you a deadline, and I will not allow anyone to threaten or intimidate you. It is the duty of the State to protect you and your peaceful expression of your rightful demands," the Lebanese PM added during his address.

Hariri went on to express his willingness to "personally support" early elections to make sure the voice of protesters is heard.

Over the last five days Lebanon has been gripped by mass protests, believed to be the country's largest since 2015, as demonstrators took to the streets to voice their discontent with deteriorating living conditions, austerity measures, capital flight and the rise of the deficit and public debt.

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Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri announced during a televised address in Beirut on Monday that after his imposed 72-hour deadline he and his government partners had agreed to an economic reform package, after days of anti-government protests rocked Lebanon.

The reform package which Hariri announced includes a 50 percent salary reduction for government officials and members of parliament as well as a directive to the banking sector and the Bank of Lebanon to "reduce the deficit by 5,100 billion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion or €3 billion) during 2020, including a tax increase on the profits of banks."

"These decisions are not to barter, they are not to ask you to stop protesting or expressing anger, this is something that you decide. And we are not giving you a deadline, and I will not allow anyone to threaten or intimidate you. It is the duty of the State to protect you and your peaceful expression of your rightful demands," the Lebanese PM added during his address.

Hariri went on to express his willingness to "personally support" early elections to make sure the voice of protesters is heard.

Over the last five days Lebanon has been gripped by mass protests, believed to be the country's largest since 2015, as demonstrators took to the streets to voice their discontent with deteriorating living conditions, austerity measures, capital flight and the rise of the deficit and public debt.

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